Associations between dental and oral conditions at weaning and future growth

Anita L. Tucker, MSc, PhD; Tina M. Widowski, PhD; Robert M. Friendship, DVM, MSc, Diplomate ABVP

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Objectives: To examine prevalence of abnormal dental and oral conditions in weaned piglets and associations with weight gain, and to determine if premolar eruption status remains stable within a population.

Materials and methods: Study One: In February, March, and April of 2009, oral exams were performed on 735 piglets at weaning. Deciduous teeth were recorded as being erupted or not. Occlusion between premolars was noted. A superscript (or subscript) number indicated position within the maxilla (or mandible) of incisors, canines, and premolars (i, c, and p, respectively). Prevalences of tooth damage, oral lesions, and staining or caries were determined. Pig weights were recorded at weaning and 3 weeks later. Study Two: Premolar eruption and occlusion data from 2009 (208 piglets) were compared to 2007 data (180 piglets).

Results: Study One: Eruption of p3 and p4 were positively associated with weight gain at 3 weeks post weaning (p3, P < .0001; p4, P = .048), with eruption of i1 showing a similar trend (P < .01). Dental caries or staining on i1 were negatively associated with weight gain (P < .05). Study Two: Dentition was more advanced at 2 weeks (p3, P < .01; p4, P < .05; occlusion of p3 and p4, P < .01), 3 weeks (p3, P < .01), and 4 weeks of age (occlusion of p3, p4, and p4, P < .01) in 2009 than in 2007.

Implications: Tooth eruption and condition at weaning are associated with future weight gain. Herd premolar eruption and occlusion status changes over time.

Keywords: dentition, oral health, teeth, weaning

RIS citationCite as: Tucker AL, Widowski TM, Friendship RM. Associations between dental and oral conditions at weaning and future growth. J Swine Health Prod 2010;18(2):68-74.

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